Apple loses its trademark appeal for the Apple Watch in China

Apple failed again to register trademarks for the Apple Watch in China, as the Beijing Intellectual Property Court (Beijing IP Court) overruled Apple’s claim, Chinese online media TechWeb reported on Friday.

In November 2014, Apple applied to register four trademarks in China, for products including the Apple Watch and accessories. This March, the Trademark Appraisal Committee (TAC) of the General Administration for Industry and Commerce rejected Apple’s requests, believing that the seemingly complex designs lack marked features valid to be registered as trademarks.

Apple sued the TAC in the Beijing IP Court, claiming that the trademarks have been widely used and advertised on the home screen of the Apple Watch, and have earned enough public recognition for consumers to distinguish Apple’s products from other brands.

Nevertheless, Apple’s claim was overruled by the court, who agreed that the trademarks in question are too complex and are unlikely to be recognized by the public as trademarks, but more likely to be deemed as a home screen images of an electronic device.

In addition, the court decided that Apple failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove that the trademark designs have been widely used and recognized by the public as trademarks prior to the registration request.

In May, Apple lost the exclusive rights to the “iPhone” trademark in China. Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China and was in discussion with related state offices. During his visit, Apple announced that they would inject USD one billion investment into China’s No.1 ride-hailing app, Didi Chuxing. Industrial experts said that this bold investment would increase Apple’s influence in the Chinese market, and perhaps help smooth over its legal struggles regarding its trademark claims.

(Top photo from Baidu Images)

Ke Jin

Ke graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Master's Degree in English and has worked on projects with Ipsos MORI and SDI Media. She's particularly intrigued by China's thriving technology scene and is eager to write about this flourishing industry.

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